Officer Alters Official Notes

jmarkus
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Officer Alters Official Notes

by: jmarkus on
Fri Aug 14, 2009 11:44 pm

Hi everyone,

I posted this in the 3 Demerit Section and haven't received any
responses.

I received a failure to stop at an amber light ticket on April 17, 2009. At my First Attendance Meeting I asked to read the police officer's notes and remember thinking how ridiculous they were and the difficulty he was going to have getting a conviction with his statement. He had made several critical errors, most importantly the distance I was from the light when it initially turned yellow. I pleaded not guilty and sent my request for disclosure a few weeks afterwards. Upon picking it up this morning I've noticed that the officer has made several changes from his original notes. He corrected the distance, wrote a much clearer (falsified) description of the event, and commented on road and weather conditions.

1. Is the officer allowed to make several changes and add statements to his official notes months after he originally wrote the ticket?

2. What should my next steps be?

I am considering calling the prosecution's office and requesting the officer's notes from my First Attendance meeting. Any advice would be greatly appreciated, thanks.

Markus


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by: hwybear on
Sat Aug 15, 2009 3:25 am

jmarkus wrote: 1. Is the officer allowed to make several changes and add statements to his official notes months after he originally wrote the ticket?
yes, changes to notes are permitted.

reminder, notes are not the "end all, be all" of evidence. If one has that good a memory, some notes do not need to be made.
Above is merely a suggestion/thought and in no way constitutes legal advice or views of my employer. www.OHTA.ca


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by: jmarkus on
Sun Aug 16, 2009 1:25 am

Is there any way for me to obtain the original notes to outline the multiple discrepencies between the two accounts.


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by: jmarkus on
Sun Aug 16, 2009 11:04 am

This is straight from the ticket combat website.

"In order for the police officer to use his notes on the stand, the Crown must establish that the notes were taken around the time of the incident and have not been altered since then. The notes can only be used to refresh the officer's memory. He cannot rely solely on his notes. He must have an independent recollection of the facts."

Would I be able to object to the officer using his notes, knowing that they have been changed. All advice appreciated.


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by: hwybear on
Sun Aug 16, 2009 11:45 am

Every speeding trial (10+yrs), my notes are altered and I explain this to the JP. I have never been refused to use them. There just has to be a logical explanation for the alteration.

Anyway, if you think the officer did whatever to the notes, when the officer goes to qualify notes, this is when you can ask the JP about this situation.
Above is merely a suggestion/thought and in no way constitutes legal advice or views of my employer. www.OHTA.ca


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by: ticketcombat on
Sun Aug 16, 2009 7:09 pm

jmarkus asked me to comment as well. You mentioned there were several errors but were they significant or just misspellings? I would definitely ask for the original notes and then take issue with the changes.

As Bear points out, they can change their notes and notes are not THAT important, it's the officer's recollection. But the change creates doubt and that is what you have to push at trial: Why is he recalling things differently now?

Also be careful, he will likely read his notes before trial and may not need them at all. Keep that in mind if you are trying to disqualify the notes. You'll need a plan B such as asking him the interior colour of your vehicle, the temperature/weather, what were you wearing, how many passengers in the vehicle, what did they look like, what gender were they? This is to show that all he seems to remember is his notes and does not have an independent recollection.

And you need to have a more plausible counter story than his, filled with more details, more facts and more credibility.

Good luck.
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by: jmarkus on
Mon Aug 17, 2009 1:20 am

I think the errors in the original notes are significant. He originally commented on my vehicle being much further away from the traffic light when it turned amber. I believe it was 125 meters, which he then changed to about 75. This was huge because I was on a residential street and was planning on discussing meters/second at the speed limit, and how his perceived distance would be impossible. He also originally wrote that he immediately followed my car through the intersection, which was not the case. He added additional comments about the road and weather conditions after the fact. There were also several other errors, but it is difficult to remember without the original disclosure.

Im aware that his testimony is what the crown needs from the officer, and not the notes. I just feel that it would be unfair for the officer to use notes he has made adjustments to, after the infraction. I've already received dislosure, and I was charged in April, so I can't file an 11b.

1. Does anyone think I'd have a chance for an 11a (Improper Disclosure), or an 11d (The notes he will be using at trial were altered unjustly)?

2. How would I go about retrieving the intial notes from the prosecution if I don't ask for a stay?

Tomorrow would be the last day to apply for a Stay, my court date is set for early September.

Im not betting the farm on this, I just want to make sure I explore all possibilities in my defence. I have several ideas on what I would like to do if my case gets to trial, based on how the officer testifies.

All opinions appreciated.





jmarkus asked me to comment as well. You mentioned there were several errors but were they significant or just misspellings? I would definitely ask for the original notes and then take issue with the changes.

As Bear points out, they can change their notes and notes are not THAT important, it's the officer's recollection. But the change creates doubt and that is what you have to push at trial: Why is he recalling things differently now?

Also be careful, he will likely read his notes before trial and may not need them at all. Keep that in mind if you are trying to disqualify the notes. You'll need a plan B such as asking him the interior colour of your vehicle, the temperature/weather, what were you wearing, how many passengers in the vehicle, what did they look like, what gender were they? This is to show that all he seems to remember is his notes and does not have an independent recollection.

And you need to have a more plausible counter story than his, filled with more details, more facts and more credibility.

Good luck.


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